A Phenomenological Study on Muslim Students' Experiences in the United States' Public Middle Schools

A Phenomenological Study on Muslim Students' Experiences in the United States' Public Middle Schools

Author: 
Gloria Bruce
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
The purpose of the qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of 10 current Muslim public middle school students in the United States. The study included 10 in-depth interviews that provided insights to how Muslim students balanced their religious practices and gained acceptance from their non-Muslim peers. There was one over-arching question guiding the current study: What are the lived experiences of United States’ public middle school Muslim students as they try to maintain their Islamic beliefs and gain acceptance from their non-Muslim peers? Interview transcripts were imported into NVIVO 10 for data analysis. The manual analysis identified 28 nodes, which were later categorized into themes. Four themes emerged: parental influences, self-identity, religious faith, and school climate. The results from the study revealed that while some Muslim students did experience some form of bullying; family, peer, and teacher support played a significant role in helping Muslim students have a positive school experience while attending public middle schools in the United States.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to my husband, Yadanishan Bruce, for pushing and motivating me to continue even when I felt like giving up. Thank you for being supportive and understanding when I asked for space to focus on my work or when I could not participate in family activities. Thank you for being my rock. This dissertation is also dedicated to my two beautiful children, Yadan and Yaasmeen. Thank you for understanding when mommy could not play with you or when she had to cancel activities due to schoolwork. The two of you are my greatest accomplishments and everything I do is for you. This dissertation is dedicated to all the doctoral students on their journey. Keep striving! I would like to thank my cohorts for always checking in to make sure I was on task. You motivated me more than you realized.
Acknowledgements: 
This journey would not have been possible if not for the blessing of Allah. Thank you for listening to my prayers and giving me the patience and determination to complete this journey. Through you, all things are possible. I would like to send a huge Thank You to my committee team. Dr. Nancy Kennedy, thank you for being my mentor. There are no words to express my gratitude to you. You ROCK! Thank you for pushing me further than I ever thought I could go. Thank you for your constructive feedbacks and support. Dr. Shawn Boone, thank you for having me as your mentee and coming on board on short notice. Your feedbacks helped me see the process from a different perspective. Dr. LaDonna Young, thank you for agreeing to be my committee member on short notice and your prompt feedback. Although I cried numerous times after receiving some lengthy feedbacks, those comments helped made my research better. I am forever grateful to the three of you. May God continue to bless you in all your endeavors. I would also like to acknowledge my academic counselors, Star Pitman, Malcolm Parker, and Nate Perrizo for checking in and helping me with my questions and concerns. I would also like to acknowledge my financial aid counselors, Cara Ross and David Hutchinson for alleviating many of my stresses throughout this journey.